In films, music and books, the mistletoe kissing scene is practically obligatory. This custom at Christmas time stretches back for hundreds of years. Read on to find out more about the mythology and folk stories surrounding this famous plant.
Mistletoe has long been associated with witches. This is because mistletoe was hung from beams in cattle sheds by farmers in order to keep their livestock fertile and to protect it from witches and evil spirits. Mistletoe was also used as a magical herb by medicine women, who townspeople often considered as witches.
Amongst Celtic and Germanic tribes, mistletoe was viewed as a holy plant that played a major role in pagan fertility rituals. These ancient people celebrated Midwinter with feasting and merriment, and during that period they would cut mistletoe from a holy oak with a golden sickle. The plant was caught in a white cloth and immersed in water in order to protect against illness and evil.
Mortal & immortal
Norse mythology also refers to mistletoe. The story goes that Baldur was killed by his blind bother Hodor with an arrow tipped with mistletoe, with the help of the evil god Loki no less. But the power of mistletoe also works the other way. In the Belgian cartoon series Asterix and Obelix, the druid Getafix uses mistletoe to create the magic potion which makes the little Gaulish village unbeatable.
Power of attraction
Whether or not mistletoe has magical or medicinal powers, one thing is certain: its force of attraction. Hang a big bunch of mistletoe from a door frame in your home with a pretty ribbon and position your other half to stand underneath. There, you can give them an extra festive Christmas kiss.